| |

Vintage Bedside Table Makeover (No Paint!)

Vintage Bedside Table Makeover without Paint by virginiasweetpea

When I moved into my first college apartment in 1989, my grandmother gave me a bedside table to use.  I used the table through college and then it was used in various places including its last home, a beach rental cottage.  Over the years the bedside table suffered dings, scratches, and water damage from glasses used without coasters.  When my mom sold her beach cottage over the winter, the bedside table came home with me to get a makeover.


I’ve always liked the design of this bedside table.  In college, it was great to stack books on this piece since I didn’t have a book shelf in my bedroom.

Bedside Table Before

The poor bedside table had multiple water rings and scratches on the top.  You can also see many scratches on its sides.

Beside Table Top  -  Before

Rather than paint the piece to give it a makeover, I decided to refinish it.  I started by stripping it and then I sanded it thoroughly.

Bedside Table Sanded

After it was stripped and sanded, I refinished it using Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut.  Look at the difference in the top, no more water rings and scratches, and the pretty grain of the wood can be seen.Bedside Table Top - After

I chose dark walnut to coordinate with a bed that my grandmother also gave me that I’m not currently using.  I’ve got the problem of having too many beds and not enough bedrooms!  I may switch out the bed that’s currently in our guest room with my grandmother’s just so I can use this bedside table.

Bedside Table After


I had fun pulling out some vintage things to style the table for pictures.  The lamp was my dad’s used in his college days and I also used it when I was in college.  Mama gave me the old ink pen and box.Bedside Table with Vintage Lamp and Books


The books are all vintage.  The tree and flower field guides were my grandmother’s and the text books belonged to a relative.  Vintage Bedside Table Refinished


Let’s look one last time at the before and after shots of the bedside table.  I’m thrilled with the end result of refinishing this piece and look forward to giving it many years of use in my home.

Vintage Bedside Table Makeover by virginiasweetpea.com

I think that painting furniture has its place but I definitely think that not every piece needs paint for a makeover.  I’m happy with my choice to refinish rather than paint as I love the color that I chose and I love seeing the grain of the wood.

I think that if my grandmother could see this piece now, she would be very happy!

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.

Sharing With:
Yesterday on Tuesday, Stone Gable,  A Stroll Thru Life, Little Miss Celebration, Between Naps on the Porch, Denise Designed


  1. My grandparents had a dresser set of almost the exact same style. As a matter of fact, it may be the same. My grandfather is deceased and my grandmother is now living in an assisted living facility. When she made the move, I requested their dresser set. Unfortunately, there were no bedside tables. Anyway, they were purchased in (approx.) 1949 and are in need of some sort of refinishing. I’ve been debating painting them, but after seeing your post, I think I’m going to attempt to stain them. Thanks for posting this, helping me visualize so much more easily!

    1. Annette,

      I realized after my aunt left a comment on this post that I actually have the dresser that goes with the bedside table. I feel so silly for not even realizing it! It’s a really solid piece that I’ve been using to store sewing things.

      Please let me know how your set looks after refinishing. I’d love to see pictures if you have time to send any.


      1. It will be awhile before I even get my hands on the dressers, unfortunately! They’re currently in WI at my parent’s house. I live in NY state, so we’ll have to take our truck out to visit soon to pick them up. I am kind of hoping that my dad will decide to refinish them for me and I can move them all refinished! 😉

  2. You did a great job re-finishing it. Now you’re sending me back to the “don’t paint it” group.

    1. I think some pieces are hopeless without paint but a lot of painted things could be pretty if people would take the time to refinish.

      Thanks so much for the compliment!


  3. I’m afraid that in 10, 20 years people will wonder why in the heck did we hide the natural beauty of wood with paint??? I love your side table results and the story behind it.

    1. Thank you, Bev! I like painted furniture but have mostly natural wood in my home. I had a feeling that this would be pretty refinished and I was right!


    1. It actually looked pretty nice when I was in college. The years being used in the beach rental is what did it in!


  4. I too, am so happy to see the REAL wood coming back! I agree painted furniture has it’s place, but some pieces are just not made for painting, and I shudder to see them painted aqua or green or pink!! Congrats, this looks amazing!

    1. Thank you, Liz! My aunt who grew up using this furniture loved what I did. Thanks so much for commenting!


    1. Thanks, Sarah! I also paint furniture every now and then but if I can refinish it, I prefer that look.


  5. I’m sure your grandmother would be so proud of how you refinished it! I’m impressed too! I think this is a great example to have out there because I’m sure a lot of people would have just trashed a piece with scratches and water rings like that. There is still hope for pieces that are older with some wear and tear. This looks gorgeous!

  6. I like it; you did a great job on it! The original orange and the handle style remind of me old oak desks that I’ve seen around… is yours oak, do you think?

  7. Paula…what a fantastic makeover of your DaD’s piece! I love the warmth of the stain you choose. You never disappoint in all you DIYs. Bravo!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.